Blast from the past: Mayor elected, fugitive arrested, and a new route opened

347 Overpass
The city's first overpass. [Brian Petersheim, Jr.]

The month of June in the past.

2004: Maricopa native Kelly Anderson was elected mayor of the first elected City Council on June 1. Councilman and Interim Mayor Edward Farrell turned over his duties to Anderson saying, “It’s been an honor serving as your first mayor of Maricopa.” Anderson became the first mayor elected by the council. (Today, voters elect the mayor directly.) Anderson, a 1975 graduate of Maricopa High School, opened his term with a message: “Stay unified, work ahead; in 30 days the umbilical cord will be cut off from the county.” Saying he looked forward to the challenge, Anderson said he would set and achieve both short and long-term goals.

2008: One of America’s Most Wanted fugitives was captured in Maricopa on June 11. “Eddie” Cuong Viet Nguyen, 26, who was featured on the “America’s Most Wanted” TV program three weeks earlier, was nabbed by Phoenix police as he stepped out of a Senita home to walk a dog. Nguyen was charged in a 2005 homicide in Orange County, California and was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to at least 55 years in prison. Maricopa police assisted by helping write a search warrant for the house after Nguyen’s arrest and providing a detective to search the home in the 19000 block of Kristal Lane.

2016: The long-sought railroad overpass on State Route 347 in Maricopa moved forward when the State Transportation Board voted to adopt ADOT’s 2017-2021 Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program. On the plan, the project had a $15 million federal TIGER grant and a $15 million local contribution in addition to ADOT’s $19 million commitment. The objective was to alleviate aggravating traffic backups at the Union Pacific railroad crossing by replacing the existing at-grade intersection with a grade separation. Construction started in 2018 and the $55 million overpass opened to traffic (thank goodness!) in July 2019.

This content was first published in the June edition of InMaricopa magazine.